When you say the word "cruise," one typically thinks of a BIG cruise ship that holds anywhere from 2000 to 6000 guests and features Broadway style entertainment and lavish midnight buffets.
But Hurtigruten truly walks away from this kind of mainstream cruising concept and provides a different kind of cruise experience that sails up and down the coast of Norway. I knew this was a different kind of cruise when we went through the safety demonstration and before you put on your life vest, you must first put on a thermal suit! Luckily we did not have to actually put them on and all of the safety items are kept on the 'rescue deck' not in your cabin (which makes more sense to me anyway).
We boarded the Finnmarken, a ship that even with full capacity only holds 1000 passengers. Since we boarded on Oct. 27th, during the off-season, there were only about 150 passengers that were going the entire voyage, from Bergen to Kirkenes. By that I mean that although this truly IS a cruise ship with staterooms, main dining room and a cruise director, it is also the 'coastal ferry,' whereby the locals (even with their car) can board the ship for just a port or two before disembarking.
Our cabin was one of the suites (610), which we had to get in order to have a queen-size bed - all of the other cabins have twin beds that can not be moved together. The cabin had ample space with a small desk area, couch, coffee table, chair and ottoman, ample closet space and had robes and slippers (although I had totally planned to use the sauna while onboard, somehow we just never got around to it). We also had a balcony that DID come in handy to catch photos of especially beautiful areas while cruising by (and also was cool to document the hail we had one morning too!). Since we were taking the full cruise, meals (and coffee) were included with our passage (apparently when you just are going from town to town meals are not included and are extra).As in most Norwegian accommodations, you have to put your room key into the slot by the door to make the power work in the cabin. If you don't and try to recharge your camera battery while at dinner, the power goes out. (NOTE: a credit card also works).